Isn’t it funny how, if you are a writer, thinking about things always prompts some kind of rendering; novel, short story, poem or in this case a blog post. I guess I had ants on my mind as I sat with hands folded, avoiding my chores. It could have also been because of the onslaught of ant attacks on my desk at work, lately. But, these thoughts all went to how these creatures are always busy working – preparing for whatever. That, of course, took me right to my five-year old daughter who, back in the day, had a run in with these hard-working little bodies. As life has a habit of doing, we needed some serious R & R, and decided to take a jaunt to the tropics. Since my mother, like all other grandmothers believed the sun rose and set in her only granddaughter, she jumped at the chance to take care of her for the week. Late spring worked out better for our wallets, and allowed my daughter to spend lots of time outside playing with the other neighborhood children. Thinking back I realize time really does fly. Anyway, we dropped the little girl, visited with my mother for the evening, and the next morning we were off to Kennedy airport for our flight.
I checked in from time to time during the week, and closer to the end of that time she informed me she had some funny news to report when we returned. First, let me explain my daughter. She has always been, and is still petrified of anything that flies or crawls. But, no one knew until this particular incident that she held homage for one group of insects.
On a bright, and sunny day, my daughter spent most of mid-day in the front yard, and on the porch with the other children – playing in the dirt. Sometime in the early afternoon a family friend stopped by and asked my mother if she wanted to take a ride with him to Brooklyn. My mother let a couple of the other mothers know she would take the children with her, gathered them all up, including my daughter, and ushered them in to the back of the car.
Now, as she’s telling me the story, I interrupted, and asked, “In her dirty clothes?”
“Sure,” she replied. “We were just riding there and back. We weren’t getting out of the car. So, halfway there, I could tell Jim was watching the children in the rear view mirror. And, Erica is fidgeting more than the others. But, we kept talking, and yes, she kept squirming. He finally laughed, and jokingly said to Erica in the mirror, ‘What’s the matter with you? You have ants in your pants or something?’ Then, we all just laughed it off.”
As they returned to the house, everyone crawled out of the car. My mother took Erica in the house, and asked, “Come over here, do you have something in your pants? What’s the matter?”
Needless to say – yes, she did have a problem. Only a truck load of ants; crawling up and down the inside of her pants, on her skin, in her underwear; everywhere on the bottom portion of her body. She had evidently sat on an ant hill or picked them up from somewhere in the yard. My mother, clearly disgusted, rushed her outside where the pants stayed, and from there this child hit the tub for a thorough scrubbing.
In asking her why she didn’t say anything, she simply replied, “Nana, they’re just ants.”
Go, try to figure children, and especially one who while terrified of everything else in the insect world – wouldn’t lift a finger to harm one of these little guys. So many years later, and we still have to laugh about that.
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